U of M Student Delivers Message of Hope amid the Despair

Article excerpt

I left work Monday night distraught and depressed.

Boston is my favourite American city, full of energy and history. I've stayed just around the corner from the site of the bombings. I was married to a runner, and still know people in the running community. One of my editors has run Boston three times.

The images of blood and torn limbs and panic brought back flashes of 9/11 and that helplessness in the face of evil. I called my mother first, just to check in. My daughter called me, numb and upset. There weren't adequate words for any of us.

Tuesday morning, I got an email from 19-year-old Katie Eva. The University of Manitoba science student shared her Facebook posting, an eloquent reaction to the carnage. Eva, who spent the first nine years of her life living on First Nations reserves in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba because of her father's work, is attuned to human suffering. Her email, as sweetly naive and hopeful as it was, seemed a tonic for my despair.

Here's what she wrote:

"The world needs to change.

"If you haven't figured out yet why, I encourage you to watch the news about the bombing in Boston, or read about Rehtaeh Parsons, or even just reflect about things that happen everyday in our lives that may never reach the press.

"Just because these events don't specifically impact our lives doesn't mean we should turn a blind eye. We have a responsibility to change the way we see the world because we can. The way we treat other people. What we choose to live for. We have the means, the opportunities, to make a difference. Chances that other people do not have.

"I honestly believe that all the world needs is more compassion. Accepting people and loving them for every part of them that makes them different. Everyone has experienced struggles that may have changed them in ways that someone could never begin to understand until they've experienced them for themselves. Everyone has hit rock bottom at one point or another. Everyone has been hurt, has hurt someone, or has seen the people around them hurt.

"But at the end of the day we can either choose to sit around and do nothing about it, or change ourselves so that the future will be different. …